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Author Topic: Connecticut Tragedy  (Read 18201 times)
Ray
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« Reply #60 on: December 16, 2012, 08:35:25 PM »
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I get the impression that the gun culture in America is so strong that asking Americans to give up their right to own arms would be as successful as asking Moslems to become Christians.

Nevertheless, I think there should be a referendum on the issue (or whatever equivalent political process is used in America to amend the Constitution). If the majority of Americans, despite these recurring massacres, still think it's appropriate to have the right to hold arms in this modern age, then so be it. Live with the consequences.
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« Reply #61 on: December 16, 2012, 08:49:12 PM »
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... ordinary handguns account for almost all gun homicides, the last experiment with an assault weapons ban had minimal (at best) effect on gun violence (not surprising since assault weapons are rarely used in homicides)...

But assault weapons are often used in mass shootings, which is what we are discussion here, so how about the effect the ban had in that respect? None of us has enough access to the relevant data, but it stands to reason that if assault weapons are used in mass shootings, controlling them might help, no?

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... they divert resources from pursuing realistic, effective measures to combat gun violence...

Such as?

What I find particularly annoying is that attitude coming from gun nuts that "it is what it is, and NOTHING can be done about it." Every attempt is quickly labeled as "idealistic, misinformed, and simplistic" and immediately shot down (pun intended).

As every new shooting becomes more and more tragic, unbelievable and grotesque, it appears that the public is getting more and more desensitized, and our half-life of outrage shorter and shorter.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #62 on: December 16, 2012, 08:50:56 PM »
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Bart, like it or not, your interpretation of the Second Amendment is irrelevant.  The U.S. Supreme Courtís interpretation is all that really matters.

Hi Dean,

Is it? Doesn't the Supreme Court 'just' rule on the 'evidence' they get presented? They do not make laws, I'm sure, because that's what Government is about. It is because it is, is not an argument. What evidence is there, really, that refutes my (so far fundamentally uncontested) interpretation? Any relevant links, quotes?

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Bart
« Last Edit: December 16, 2012, 08:53:51 PM by BartvanderWolf » Logged
dmerger
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« Reply #63 on: December 16, 2012, 10:17:59 PM »
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But assault weapons are often used in mass shootings, which is what we are discussion here, so how about the effect the ban had in that respect?

I wasnít under the impression that we were just talking about mass shootings, but that the recent mass shooting was just the impetus for a more general discussion about gun violence in the U.S.  Moreover, I think it is a mistake to just look at mass shootings.  Such shootings are a miniscule portion of gun related homicides in the U.S.  The U.S. has a very limited attention span.  Efforts to address just mass shootings will mean that little or no real effort will be devoted to the much larger problem.

None of us has enough access to the relevant data Ö
Such as?

Much of the relevant data is freely available via the internet, including the results of various laws and programs instituted in many different places and times in the U.S., and related research into those and other proposals to combat gun violence.  This stuff rarely makes the news, but a lot of serious research and study has been done.

What I find particularly annoying is that attitude coming from gun nuts that "it is what it is, and NOTHING can be done about it." Every attempt is quickly labeled as "idealistic, misinformed, and simplistic" and immediately shot down (pun intended).

I think your generalization is unfounded.  Iím not a gun nut, I never said that nothing can be done (Iíve said quite the opposite), nor have I talked about every attempt.  Iím pragmatic about this issue.  Iím against pursuing proposals that canít be enacted or will be ineffective in combating gun violence generally.  Iíd rather that resources be devoted to proposals than can be enacted and effective against overall gun violence.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2012, 11:03:29 PM by dmerger » Logged

Dean Erger
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« Reply #64 on: December 16, 2012, 10:46:42 PM »
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Doesn't the Supreme Court 'just' rule on the 'evidence' they get presented?

Bart, the Supreme Court doesnít just rule on the evidence.  The court has the final say as to what the words of the U.S. Constitution mean, and how that meaning is to be applied.  For example, as I stated earlier in this thread, the Supreme Court has held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.  You may not agree with the Supreme Courtís decision (many people donít agree), but under our system the Supreme Court has the final say.

Bart, if you havenít done so, you may enjoy reading at least part of the Supreme Court opinions (majority as well as dissenting opinions) in DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HELLER that can be found here:  http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-290.ZS.html  In fact, anyone who has never read a Supreme Court opinion should read some.  They can be surprisingly interesting reading, very educational about certain issues (like gun control and the Second Amendment), as well as enlightening about how our system works. 
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Dean Erger
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« Reply #65 on: December 16, 2012, 10:52:32 PM »
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I get the impression that the gun culture in America is so strong that asking Americans to give up their right to own arms would be as successful as asking Moslems to become Christians.

Nevertheless, I think there should be a referendum on the issue (or whatever equivalent political process is used in America to amend the Constitution). If the majority of Americans, despite these recurring massacres, still think it's appropriate to have the right to hold arms in this modern age, then so be it. Live with the consequences.


Your impression is correct, Ray.  Amending our Constitution, however, is not so easy. As I described earlier, it generally takes a 2/3rds supermajority of congress, and 3/4 of the states, to amend our Constitution. Getting that level of support for changing the Second Amendment is impossible, at least for the foreseeable future.  And, we are living with the consequences.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2012, 10:59:51 PM by dmerger » Logged

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« Reply #66 on: December 16, 2012, 11:34:14 PM »
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... Iíd rather that resources be devoted to proposals than can be enacted and effective against overall gun violence.

Again, such as?

So far I heard you talking only against (no, this won't work, no, that won't work), and not a word about those wonderfully "effective proposals." I think we are all ears for some fresh ideas, so by all means...

As for what we are talking about... I do not know... when we start talking about mass shootings, the counter-argument shifts to gun violence in general, when we start talking about gun deaths in general, the argument shifts to suicides, when we talk about assault weapons, the argument shifts to semantics, when we start talking about guns, the argument shifts to box cutters... you get the idea. I think the operative word would be weaseling out.

And yes, I generalize, thus not necessarily directly addressing you, just so you know.
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« Reply #67 on: December 17, 2012, 12:56:28 AM »
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There is a very significant difference between:
1. territorial or drug-related gang-wars,
2. the right to defend yourself, your home, and your family, especially when living in rural areas,
3. psychos entering save-zones.

I don't think that anyone in his right mind will ever consider that gun control will make a thread of difference in cases 1 and 3, regardless of statistics. The "planning attacks" part of the breivik case is very enlighting as to what can happen even in a country with strict gun-control.

For the record, I think that we are discussing option 3 above. Not option 1 or 2 and what gun-control would mean in that respect. At the very least we should be discussing 3, because that is the nature of the problem. And especially the disruption and trauma caused by such attacks. Doesn't particularly matter whether they use guns or knifes. I personally believe it is preposterous to suggest that teachers should somehow need to defend children against these attacks, instead: society should protect teachers and children from any attacks.

As for solutions I am fairly sure that one statistic is pretty consistent: if you could keep the male-human species out of the safe-zones, it would pretty much eliminate 90% of all problems...
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« Reply #68 on: December 17, 2012, 03:22:19 AM »
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I don't believe the vast majority of suicides are impulsive.  Studies show most victims of suicide have long considered it and most have family who can now place several to many ideation's once they recognized what they were.. but I do think you would be right a fair number of time..

If you study the UK (something I've had a passing interest in for years, watching how gun control really works in the first year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, etc, post.. )they've had issues with bats (cricket bats), bows and arrows, kitchen knives, big hammers (all these have either been written into legislation or talked about on the floor), and the list goes on. The society remains extremely violent so they're finding new ways.  Roving gangs attacking now defenceless old people and even the young have become a problem.   If the society is violent in nature evil will find a way.  It always does.

An odd ball emerging weapon of choice they're trying hard not to talk about, popular with young gangs especially.. are battery operated power tools.  Nail guns with battery packs are easily modified to have what is effectively a gun that shoots nails.  Battery powered saws and drills have been used to threaten and in some cases maim.   We need to fix society.. the minute we take one potential weapon off the market, they'll just move on to a new one.  Meanwhile, the one weapon (handguns) which allow the weak, elderly, and infirm protect themselves is the first go.. with the violence still a problem, they're really left in a bad spot.

When will we start addressing violent video games and targeting violence in society as a solution?  We should start soon or it won't be long before all we find to eat with is plastic utensils.

Steve, in answer to your earlier question I live in the south of England.

In actual fact here in the leafy New Forest we have had two incidents in the past couple of weeks (probably the same perpetrator) where a middle aged man wielding a gun and disguised with swimming goggles, has held up people and made them go to a nearby cash machine to take out money.  This is an extremely rare occurrence and every possibility the 'gun' is a fake anyway.

Your paragraphs above I have to say make no sense in relation to this discussion.  Of course cricket bats, knives etc get used to commit acts of violence and sometimes death.  But the many times greater lethality of guns puts them into a different category.  The motor car is the most lethal weapon in the UK but no one is suggesting we ban them.  The killer in the recent school shooting had access to all four of his mothers guns.  Four guns.  I don't know anyone who owns even one gun.  Like the locality of the shootings, we too live in a quiet, law abiding area.  The difference being that if a 20 year old kid with a grudge here wanted to get a gun he would probably have to go off to a city and get involved with the crime underground to be able to source one.  Not just get the keys to his mum's closet.

Jim
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #69 on: December 17, 2012, 08:46:28 AM »
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Pointing out cases of mass shootings "even in areas with stricter gun controls" is like pointing out cases of lung cancer in people who never smoke. It happens, but it doesn't change the fact that smoking significantly raises your chances of getting cancer. Just like the abundance of guns and easy access to them raises the chances of being used.

As for the argument that criminals or gangs will always obtain guns illegally, well... with abundance of legal guns it is certainly easier to obtain them illegally as well. Tighten the access to guns legally, and it will reduce their availability and raise their cost illegally too.

I do not think anybody believes there is a single, simple, and magic-like solution to a complex problem. In that respect, gun control isn't either. But it is a good start and a step in the right direction.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #70 on: December 17, 2012, 08:58:51 AM »
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I do not think anybody believes there is a single, simple, and magic-like solution to a complex problem. In that respect, gun control isn't either. But it is a good start and a step in the right direction.

Why?
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #71 on: December 17, 2012, 09:10:55 AM »
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To have long considered and yet not to have acted -- the impulse to act passed.


I didn't make myself  clear.  A "suicide" suggests the act was consummated.  Most are well considered over time.  In Oregon (this used to be my home state and I was current and voting during the process when most of these numbers concerning suicide were surprisingly discussed calmly and without the normal extremists on both sides) we have assisted suicide, a legal way to elect to die with the help of a doctor.  Overwhelmingly most are long considered.  But there are some 'impulse' suicides as you mention.  If someone sets their mind to suicide the method becomes immaterial because there re so many easy ways.  Take away one easy way, they'll use another.


Compared to the US?


Compared to anywhere.  A violent society is violent.  Of course I can only go on what I read in the news and a few brief visits, so my take on British society is no more/less accurate than most of the non-USA citizens committing ini this thread.





In any case, as I said -- it is possible to kill people with our bare hands but it isn't easy; while guns, by design, are a quick and easy way to kill.

Guns are not potential weapons. Guns are actual weapons, by design, a quick and easy way to kill.

1.  No, it is very easy to kill with only bare hands.  There are an almost limitless supply of special forces manuals from many countries which can teach someone the techniques in minutes.  And of course throughout the history of man we've killed with our bare hands, purpose built clubs and other blunt objects, knives, swords, explosives, drownings, fire, gas, chemicals, and the list goes on for actual pages.  You can add guns at the end.  Looking at the list you can see virtually all were at one time or another built and used as weapons before guns even existed.

Taking away any single weapon won't change anything to the violent person bent on killing.  But as you say, a gun can be (but isn't always) purpose built for killing.  When they are, they'll have built in safety devices, classes become available, and a general level of education comes to exist making them 'safer' than many other weapons.  And ease of use becomes a decided advantage to the weak, elderly, infirm, or just the lone person being attacked by several.  

Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?  This would be the core of the gun debate.  And as evidenced by your responses (and many others in this thread) it appears many who don't see the advantages of having a  guns haven't yet become fully educated on the topic.  

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« Reply #72 on: December 17, 2012, 09:17:20 AM »
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Pointing out cases of mass shootings "even in areas with stricter gun controls" is like pointing out cases of lung cancer in people who never smoke. It happens, but it doesn't change the fact that smoking significantly raises your chances of getting cancer. Just like the abundance of guns and easy access to them raises the chances of being used.

Trying to turn Bayesian logic on me? Well, the argument goes like this:

the chances of a psycho-attack where guns are used are minimal,
the chances of a psycho-attack where any kind of weapon is used is equally minimal,
and either way, that chance should be reduced to nil, however impossible.

Doesn't make a thread of difference whether there is gun-control or not.

This doesn't apply to smoking, because the numbers are of an entirely different order of magnitude.

As for the argument that criminals or gangs will always obtain guns illegally, well... with abundance of legal guns it is certainly easier to obtain them illegally as well. Tighten the access to guns legally, and it will reduce their availability and raise their cost illegally too.

Yeah, so they need to resort to even more violent crimes in safe-zones to obtain those guns illegally?

Perhaps there is some middleground like in the drug-related discussions: where you are allowed electric stun-guns or rubber-bullets, but your not easily allowed lethal weapons? 

I do not think anybody believes there is a single, simple, and magic-like solution to a complex problem. In that respect, gun control isn't either. But it is a good start and a step in the right direction.

Again I would like to point to this link, even though I am not a US citizen, but for those who are: WeThePeople

They are already obligated to respond, but the more signatures, the better it represents urgency, which results in more discussion, and discussing the issue is certainly good. To that I agree.
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« Reply #73 on: December 17, 2012, 09:19:21 AM »
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Why?

Why what? I have explained my reasoning in this and other posts. If you disagree, feel free to elaborate.
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« Reply #74 on: December 17, 2012, 09:23:32 AM »
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I get the impression that the gun culture in America is so strong that asking Americans to give up their right to own arms would be as successful as asking Moslems to become Christians.

Nevertheless, I think there should be a referendum on the issue (or whatever equivalent political process is used in America to amend the Constitution). If the majority of Americans, despite these recurring massacres, still think it's appropriate to have the right to hold arms in this modern age, then so be it. Live with the consequences.

An amendment process could be introduced at any time on just about any subject.  Gay marriage, abortion, guns, any of hot topic areas.  The founding fathers in their wisdom when completing the constitution require a 2/3's majority to amend this document.  There simply are not the votes.. which is why amendments are so rare.

Should amendments be easier?  About the only time someone says they should be, is when they want to change something they otherwise couldn't change.  Which again shows the wisdom of the founding fathers.

Look at how easily gun control was enacted in Australia..akin to the proverbial knee jerk reaction without adequate representation and due process.  Even now, years later, I'd bet if Australia or even the UK voted concerning gun control the numbers would be split pretty much down the middle.. This tells me the rights of right around half these citizens were severely infringed on.  Sad.

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« Reply #75 on: December 17, 2012, 09:38:32 AM »
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But assault weapons are often used in mass shootings, which is what we are discussion here, so how about the effect the ban had in that respect? None of us has enough access to the relevant data, but it stands to reason that if assault weapons are used in mass shootings, controlling them might help, no?

As a police officer during this ban, and later as a federal firearms dealer and owner of a business that made custom firearms (1911 handguns used for competitions mostly) I'm familiar with the "assault weapon" ban, so allow me bring current exactly what the assault weapon ban was all about.

1.  It limited magazines to 10 rounds.

2.  It DID NOT ban the AR and AK style of weapons so many think it did.  What it did was define an assault weapon as one with:  a. Collapsible stock  b.  Accepting of a detachable magazine.  c. Having a bayonet lug.  d.  Having a threaded barrel.  e.  Having a pistol grip.   The ban went on to say a weapon would be classified as an assault weapon IF TWO OR MORE of the above were present.

Why the above?  Because "functionally" many time honoured hunting rifles going back to your great-great grandfathers weapons could have been rolled up the definition and that would never pass politically.. so the 3 or more rule.

So.. Manufacturers simply spot welded on the flash suppressors to eliminate the threaded barrel, cut off the bayonet lug, and installed a fixed stock.  Later models were done more cleanly off the assembly line.

When you looked at a assault weapon and a legally obtainable 'semi-automatic' firearm, does anyone think there's a real difference?   And there isn't that much difference between semi-autos and revolvers or bolt actions it comes down to an educated POV.. but it made the anti-gun lobbies feel they won a victory.

Such as?

What I find particularly annoying is that attitude coming from gun nuts that "it is what it is, and NOTHING can be done about it." Every attempt is quickly labeled as "idealistic, misinformed, and simplistic" and immediately shot down (pun intended).

As every new shooting becomes more and more tragic, unbelievable and grotesque, it appears that the public is getting more and more desensitized, and our half-life of outrage shorter and shorter.

It would probably help the debate if we could stop using "gun nuts", Idiots, crazies, and other terms of endearment when discussing a serious subject.

I think there's A LOT we can do to make real differences.. but I don't support any of the feel good measures which have been proven to not work in the past.
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« Reply #76 on: December 17, 2012, 10:07:29 AM »
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Steve, in answer to your earlier question I live in the south of England.

In actual fact here in the leafy New Forest we have had two incidents in the past couple of weeks (probably the same perpetrator) where a middle aged man wielding a gun and disguised with swimming goggles, has held up people and made them go to a nearby cash machine to take out money.  This is an extremely rare occurrence and every possibility the 'gun' is a fake anyway.

Your paragraphs above I have to say make no sense in relation to this discussion.  Of course cricket bats, knives etc get used to commit acts of violence and sometimes death. But the many times greater lethality of guns puts them into a different category.  The motor car is the most lethal weapon in the UK but no one is suggesting we ban them.  The killer in the recent school shooting had access to all four of his mothers guns.  Four guns.  I don't know anyone who owns even one gun.  Like the locality of the shootings, we too live in a quiet, law abiding area.  The difference being that if a 20 year old kid with a grudge here wanted to get a gun he would probably have to go off to a city and get involved with the crime underground to be able to source one.  Not just get the keys to his mum's closet.

Jim

Hi Jim.  Thanks for the response.

1.  Am I wrong in thinking you live in a pretty nice area?   We have such areas in the states too.  Much more than not.  Areas where we can go 50+ years without a serious incident.

We haven't yet reached the point in the discussion (all such discussions of this type have a very predictable sequence where specific information is entered, people google, we go to the next level, etc, etc.. the best we can hopeful in a thread of this type is to be civil and present information relative to our beliefs. 

One such area we haven't got to yet but you eluded to, is that the vast majority of those handgun numbers and homicides.. are gang related and in truth centered in small specific areas of several big (and failing) cities.  If we erased those numbers we'd find the USA to be as peaceful and non-violent as yo find your little patch of earth.. as compared to if you were living in your worst areas.

2.  I have some experience with weapons as they've been my professional tools for decades before I started carrying cameras instead (no wonder I like the big heavy 1 series bodies..;o), and I think it's a huge mistake to discount the lethality of edged or blunt instruments as weapons.  Spend a few hours watching the shows that analyze midevil or antique weaponry..  Sure, guns are more effective and maybe even in a different class.. but they're hugely lethal and they're what we'll be facing (without a gun to protect ourself) if certain laws pass.   

And I'm not convinced people think that far ahead.  Because they can't see it of feel it, they're not allowing for the deterrent effect certain communities enjoy because the bad guys know it's an armed community.  Or how effective at 50, 60, 70 years of age they'd be protecting their own family while out in public.  Or even if you're young, how effective you'd be against mutiple assailants.  I've familiar because its' been by business to put myself out there.  I've done that in the past, and I know through experience what's out there.  So now as I enter my 50's I've very realistic about how effective I'd be protecting my family without firearms.  The answer is not very.

Everyone agrees that all these proposed measures probably won't stop the next school attack.  But if they go through, how many home attacks, armed assaults, and other violence will normal citizens be during because of this?  The numbers will be high.  We know this, because since we've enacted CCW laws in 49 states, 41 states are use friendly, in almost all of these states violence has decreased.  We have 200% less violent crimes committed than ten years ago.  And few are asking why.

3.  I 100% agree with the access issue.. this kid should never have had access and the guns should never have been secured in a closet, locked or not.  I talk about this here:  "What Would Have Prevented The Sandy Hook, CT School Shootings?"
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« Reply #77 on: December 17, 2012, 10:17:26 AM »
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I do not think anybody believes there is a single, simple, and magic-like solution to a complex problem. In that respect, gun control isn't either. But it is a good start and a step in the right direction.

I agree with the first part.  Not the second.  I've seen nothing that convinces me it would be effective for anything but a feel good measure.  Allow me to offer an alternative I think would do more to help with such shootings than the gun control people are considering, and wouldn't be met with "that much" resistance by the gun lobby.. I think considering.. they might even be supportive.

STORAGE LAWS:  In Florida they enacted a law in the 80's that held owners of guns criminally and civilly responsible if their guns were used in the commission of a crime or were misused in any way. The law said ALL guns must be stored in an approved SAFE and they specified a combination device and not a simple key.  The statistics might still be out there, but the immediate result was a huge decrease in the number of guns on the streets because of burglaries and the such.  And the law included strict "sales" requirements.. the person receiving the gun had to receive it through an FFL dealer, so used sales were covered and people couldn't later say they sold or lost their weapons.. without showing specific sales receipts and/or police reports.

I really feel this one law.. would do more good than all the gun control put together.   And it would have prevented this last shooting, and the shootings before.. because it would have "effectively" done, with the cooperation of the gun lobby.. what is impossible to do without.
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« Reply #78 on: December 17, 2012, 10:26:19 AM »
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... It would probably help the debate if we could stop using "gun nuts", Idiots, crazies, and other terms of endearment when discussing a serious subject...

Perhaps. Just as it would help if we could stop patronizing those with different opinions:

Quote
And as evidenced by your responses (and many others in this thread) it appears many who don't see the advantages of having a  guns haven't yet become fully educated on the topic.   
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« Reply #79 on: December 17, 2012, 10:29:53 AM »
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Steve, as a former police officer yourself, are you aware that the majority of police is in favor of a stricter gun control? Or is my information incorrect?
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